Religious groups have long challenged the birth control mandate of the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that it requires them to cover all forms of contraception, some of which are contrary to their religious beliefs. There has been some upset in the past, which the Obama Administration handled by allowing religious groups and organizations to not cover the contraceptions that impeach on their religious beliefs. However, in a fresh round of allegations, some religious groups have cited that Obamacare hasn’t done enough on these grounds, and the mandate is still in violation of their beliefs.
This time, it is the federal exemption that is violating the beliefs of Colorado nuns and four Christian Colleges in Oklahoma. According to the objection, these groups are required to inform the government that they are not covering contraceptives on religious grounds to get an exemption from the mandate. According to the plaintiffs, they are required to sign a document that exempts them from covering these contraceptives, but in turn authorizes another party to cover these contraceptives. The religious groups feel that this sign off makes them complacent in the very thing they are trying to avoid.
Lawyers from the religious front argue that this signoff is a moral challenge for them, and the religious groups feel that the government has myriad ways to cover contraceptives without making them complacent in the act. On the other hand, lawyers from the government feel that the law has been modified enough to allow these groups to exercise their religion without putting a significant burden on them. These religious exceptions have already been included in the birth control mandate, and if they let go of this signoff process that keeps them informed why employers chose not to cover contraceptives under the mandate, they will have to keep a track on every organization that does not cover contraceptives.
Plaintiffs in the case feel that the government does not require any kind of signoff, particularly when it clearly knows that almost all religious bodies have raised their hand against the mandate, and will not condone it under any circumstance. Currently, the matter remains whether the opt-out forms requiring signoff are putting substantial burden on the religious beliefs of these groups. The ruling is still in process.
All of this started from the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case last year, when the organization decided not to cover certain contraceptives under the birth control mandate as it killed a fertilized egg, an act that is tantamount in their eyes to infanticide. The organization did not want to cover such methods and this, in turn, initiated a whole row over the birth control mandate that ultimately saw the United States Supreme Court stepping in. This is the same mandate that has received a lot of support from women, as it covers all kinds of contraceptives, some of which can be very costly out of pocket.
Basically, the Obamacare mandate requires all employers and institutions to cover all FDA approved contraceptives, including intravenous contraception methods that can remove an egg after fertilization. The ACA had designed this mandate under preventive care for women, and the treatments are free of cost to the patient. Although charitable organizations, hospitals, and universities are required under the mandate to cover all forms of birth control, churches and houses of worship are exempt. .
Currently, several Christian organizations are complaining against that the signoff documents make them complacent in these contraceptives. Although the ruling isn’t out yet, it looks like the government might have to make some tunings to the mandate once again. In light of the progress Obamacare is making right now and the momentum boosting the law, the administration might not want to lose out these supporters over a minor change of canceling form signoff altogether. Probably a better solution is needed that lets the government know which organizations and groups are not offering contraceptive coverage on religious grounds without asking these groups to sign any forms or submit any documents.